Dining away from home can feel like a treat. Too often though, our waistlines and general health suffer in the long run, especially when eating out becomes a regular occurrence instead of an occasional thing.
Most restaurants prepare food with taste as their major focus and health low in priority if considered at all. Oversized portions are a major factor as well. When we cook for ourselves, we maintain control.
A study from Tufts University found 92% of restaurant entrees exceed the recommended range per meal of 500 - 700 calories. In ranking the most offending cuisine types, Italian food topped the list of excessively caloric at 1,556 average calories per restaurant entrée; Greek cuisine ranked lowest with an average of 904 calories per entrée.
Setting healthy intentions when dining away from home can mean the difference between diet disaster or staying on-trackwith your wellness improvement plan.
Following these WhyPowered 5-A guidelines can help:
1. Advance review of menu options supports informed and thoughtful decisions when hunger isn’t ruling our choices. Fewer calories and better nutrition are typical outcomes of taking this action.
2. Ask your server before ordering about cooking methods, ingredients, etc. Don’t be shy about asking for modifications to save calories.
3. Appetizers; Instead of focusing on entrée options, an effective portion control method can be found in the appetizer section. Paired with a salad or veggie side dish, an appetizer can satisfy without excessive calories. Your wallet will take a smaller hit at well.
4. Alcohol; If not avoided entirely, sticking to the recommended limit for alcohol (one daily drink for women, two for men) is helpful. Besides having zero nutrition and often high sugar content, alcohol consumption has been proven to have a negative impact on making healthy food choices.
5. Away box; To deal with oh-so-common oversized portions, ask for a take-away box for half your food before beginning the meal. You’ll save loads of unnecessary calories and have a second, ready meal at hand for later enjoyment.
By following these Five-A guidelines, you can make dining away from home enjoyable without sabotaging your weight loss progress. When we make more conscious and intentional choices for our health on a daily basis, it adds up to big and positive changes over time.
Finding a place of balance and moderation with our eating and movement routines isn't easy, but it is possible. If you're looking for info and inspiration on this topic, attend my free upcoming wellness talk on Tuesday evening, April 9 at the Maplewood Public Library.
To your good health!
Coach Gayle Rose
Certified Whole Health Coach
Certified Personal Fitness Trainer